Local swimmers pass tests; next up are Olympic Trials


Stanford students are in finals this week as another school years heads to graduation. Members of the Stanford men's and women's swim teams, however, have already been tested.

For those who competed in the Arena Pro Swim Series stop in Santa Clara over the weekend, it was more of a pop quiz -- as in discovering one's level of fitness.

The real test comes later this month at the U.S. Olympic Trials (June 26-July 3) in Omaha, Neb.

For those Stanford swimmers with legitimate shots at possible Olympic berths, the Arena Pro Swim Series at the George F. Haines International Swim Center in Santa Clara was a good tune-up for what lies ahead.

That group includes Cardinal graduates Maya DiRado, Sarah Haase and Felicia Lee plus current/redshirt students like Simone Manuel, Ella Eastin, Lia Neal and Max Williamson.

Haase was the lone local winner in Santa Clara as she took the 100-meter breast on Friday's opening night in 1:07.05. Her prelim time of 1:06.31 from earlier in the day moved her to No. 7 in the world this season.

"Definitely didn't expect that," Haase said of her prelim time. "It's a big confidence boost. Obviously the 100 breaststroke on the women's side is loaded with talent and I'm trying not to put a ton of pressure on myself, but I think going the 6.3 puts me in a real good spot. I think I can be competitive and scare a couple of people. Trials is such an unpredictable meet and anything can happen."

DiRado was busy throughout the weekend. On Friday, she was third in the 200 free (1:57.70) and fourth in the 100 fly (59.16) as six current or former Stanford women finished among the top 10.

On Saturday, DiRado was third in the 100 back (1:00.36). As the top U.S. female professional finishers in the series, DiRado earned a one-year lease for a BMW X1 courtesy of USA Swimming partner BMW. Only U.S. athletes who meet the outlined requirements are eligible to win the BMW lease.

With 53 and 55 points, respectively, Conor Dwyer and incoming Stanford freshman Katie Ledecky secured the 2015-16 Arena Pro Swim Series titles. For the third straight year, Dwyer will earn a $10,000 series championship bonus from USA Swimming.

Dwyer won eight events, while Ledecky won a total of 10 races over the course of the series. DiRado placed first in seven events en route to a total of 42 points. Participants were awarded points in each individual Olympic event throughout the duration of the Series (Five points for first, three for second, one point for third place).

Ledecky is not yet a pro and can't accept the prize money. Her payoff, however, should be Olympic gold this summer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The Arena Pro Swim Series at Santa Clara was the seventh and final stop of the 2015-16 Arena Pro Swim Series. The series provides the nation's best swimmers the opportunity to face top-flight competition on U.S. soil with a record $350,000 in overall prize money.

Manuel, who redshirted her sophomore year at Stanford, wasn't as dominate as perhaps expected as she finished third in the women's 100 free on Sunday in 54.11 after tying for fifth with Neal in the 50 free on Saturday in 25.20. Manuel is among the favorites in both events at the Olympic Trials.

Other top finishes by local swimmers during the weekend included BJ Johnson of Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics finishing second in the men's 200 breast on Sunday in 2:12.92 after finishing fourth in the 100 breast on Friday in 1:01.93.

Stanford freshman Abram DeVine was second in the men's 400 IM on opening night, clocking a personal best of 4:19.22 after coming in as the No. 1 qualifier.

Stanford's Eastin was second in the women's 200 fly on Saturday in 2:10.38, Stanford grad Bobby Bollier was fifth in the men's 200 fly in 1:59.36, Stanford's Williamson was second in the men's 200 IM (2:02.38), third in the 400 IM (4:19.45) and fourth in the 200 breast (2:16.47).

Alex Liang and Grace Zhao, who just finished their junior years at Palo Alto High, had solid meets, as well. Liang finished third in the men's 200 IM on Sunday in 2:04.81 after taking 11th in the 200 fly (2:01.78) on Saturday. Zhao was seventh in the women's 200 breast (2:36.30) and ninth in the 200 IM (2:22.64) on Sunday after taking eighth in the 100 breast on Friday (1:11.88). Both Liang and Zhao swim for PASA.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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